12yo Florida Girl Sues Ryan Howard for HR Ball


Just a mind numbing story out of Miami from yesterday at NBCMiami.com

Little girl catches Ryan Howard’s 200th homerun ball at Landshark stadium in Miami, gets invited to the clubhouse to meet Ryan and get an autographed ball in exchange for the milestone ball. Transaction is made, parents later cry foul and file a suit against Howard for the rights to the original ball.

12-Year-Old Girl Robs Phillies Slugger of a Home Run
Phillies slugger is robbed of a home run by a 12-year-old girl

Updated 9:27 PM EDT, Tue, Oct 6, 2009

Ryan Howard is used to getting robbed of a home run, just not by a 12-year-old girl.

Jennifer Valdivia filed a lawsuit Monday against the Philadelphia Phillies slugger for the rights to his 200th home run, which made Major League history as the player to reach the milestone the fastest.

In baseball terms, she threw a 100 mph heater high and inside at Howard’s head.

Instead of having a legal battle as the MLB postseason is about to start, Howard gave up the ball. “My ball,” Jennifer told the Miami Herald. “I have it, finally.”

Yay, Jennifer Valdivia, right? Wrong!

We’d like to say this was a happy ending, but it isn’t. Howard got robbed like when an outfielder climbs the fence and pulls back one of his homers.

It was never your ball, Jen.

Howard hit the home run at land Shark Stadium against the Florida Marlins on July 16, and as is customary, wanted the ball back.

So Phillies staff invited Valdivia to the club house for a one-on-one meeting with the star, which would have been enough for any other fan. But the Howard also autographed a baseball in exchange for the historic one.

The kid accepted the deal, but after she told her parents, the family told the Phillies and Howard they wanted the ball back. We think you see where this is going.

The family then hired an attorney, who then filed a lawsuit to get the ball back, claiming it was Valdivia’s ball and that Howard took advantage of the little girl. Instead of playing baseball tug-of-war with a kid, Howard just gave the ball back.

He probably would have won that battle in court, but would have taken a beating in the media and the public for fighting a little girl and her family over a baseball. And you can bet the family attorney knew that.

Now usually, any victory over the Phillies would be cause for rejoice in South Florida, but this appears to be a bit out of line. What lesson are Valdivia’s parents teaching their child by filing legal papers to get a ball back? it looks and smells a lot like greed.

It would have been a far better life lesson to congratulate the girl for being a good sport about it and understanding that the ball probably had far more emotional significance to Howard than to her family, which probably hopes to make a pretty penny off the historic ball at some point.

Instead, Valdivia and Howard are learning the lesson that seems to permeate everything in society today – to make money off of whatever you can, even if it means stepping on another person to do it.

The lesson here kids is to try and take advantage of people in any way possible. Good on Ryan, for not resorting to a legal battle against a 12 year old and her scumbag parents.

I give it about a month until the ball ends up on Ebay…what a country.



Filed under Phillies

2 responses to “12yo Florida Girl Sues Ryan Howard for HR Ball

  1. BJean

    I disagree, she caught the ball as so many other fans do. They keep the ball and do whatever they want to with it. Sure some returns the ball if it had some meaning to it, but not always. The main thing here is that they can’t make a deal with a MINOR.

    • Jonathan Marshall

      This is what happens when many homerun balls are hit. Event staff finds the person and they offer a meet and greet and autograph session for whoever caught the ball, whether it’s a 60 year-old man or a 5 year-old kid. Above that, do you really think a 12 year old went to the game by herself without any adult supervision? This is purely about the greed of her parents.

      Not to mention, getting to meet a superstar ball player and having him sign a ball for you is not exactly sliding her 20 bucks and telling her to shut up about the whole thing. She was probably overjoyed.

      Thanks for reading/commenting…

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